• .... continued from page 8 (of 11) ....

38.    And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that in case any person in this Province, who shall be owner, or shall have the care, government or charge of any slave or slaves, shall deny, neglect or refuse to allow such slave or slaves, under his or her charge, sufficient clothing, covering or food, it shall and may be lawful for any person or persons, on behalf of such slave or slaves, to make complaint to the next neighboring justice, in the parish where such slave or slaves live or are usually employed;

    And if there shall be no justice in the parish, then to the next justice in the nearest parish; and the said justice shall summons the party against whom such complaint shall be made, and shall enquire of, hear and determine the same; and if the said justice shall find the said complaint to be true, or that such person will not exculpate or clear himself from the charge, by his or her own oath, which such person shall be at liberty to do, in all cases where positive proof is not given of the offence, such justice shall and may make such orders upon the same, for the relief of such slave or slaves, as he in his discretion shall think fit, and shall and may set and impose a fine or penalty on any person who shall offend in the premises, in any sum not exceeding twenty pounds, current money, for each offense, to be levied by warrant of distress and sale of the offender's good, returning the overplus, if any shall be; which penalty shall be paid to the church-wardens of the parish where the offence shall be committed, for the use of the poor of the said parish.

39.    And whereas, by reason of the extend and distance of plantations in this Province, the inhabitants are far removed from each other, and many cruelties may be committed on slaves, because no white person may be present to give evidence to the same, unless some method be provided for the better discovery of such offences; and as slaves are under the government, so they ought to be under the protection, of masters and managers of plantations;

slaves working cotton field    Be it therefore further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any slave shall suffer in live, limb or member, or shall be maimed, beaten or abused, contrary to the directions and true intent and meaning of this Act, when no white person shall be present, or being present, shall neglect or refuse to give evidence, or be examined upon oath, concerning the same, in every such case, the owner or other person who shall have the care and government of such slave, and in whose possession or power such slave shall be, shall be deemed, taken, reputed and adjudged to be guilty or such offence, and shall be proceeded against accordingly, without further proof, unless such owner or other person as aforesaid, can make the contrary appear by good and sufficient evidence, or shall be his own oath, clear and exculpate himself; which oath, every court where such offence shall be tried, is hereby empowered to administer, and to acquit the offender accordingly, if clear proof of the offence be now made by two witnesses at least; any law, usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.

40.    And whereas, many of the slaves in this Province wear clothes much above the condition of slaves, for the procuring whereof they use sinister and evil methods;

    For the prevention, therefore, of such practices for the future, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that no owner or proprietor of any Negro slave, or other slave, (except livery men and boys,) shall permit or suffer such Negro or other slave, to have or wear any sort of apparel whatsoever, finer, other, or greater value than Negro cloth, duffels, kerseys, osnabrigs, blue linen, check linen or coarse garlic, or calicoes, checked cottons, or Scotch plaids, under the pain of forfeiting all and every such apparel and garment, that any person shall permit or suffer his Negro or other slave to have or wear, finer, other or of greater value than Negro cloth, duffels, coarse kerseys, osnabrigs, blue linen, check linen or coarse garlix or calicoes, checked cottons or Scotch plaids, as aforesaid; and all and every constable and other persons are hereby authorized, empowered, and required, when as often as they shall find any such Negro slave, or other slave, having or wearing any sort of garment or apparel whatsoever, finer, other or of greater value than Negro cloth, duffels, coarse kerseys, osnabrigs, blue linen, check linen, or coarse garlix, or calicoes, checked cottons or Scottish plaids, as aforesaid, to seize and take away the same, to his or their own use, benefit and behoof; any law, usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Provided always, that if any owner of any such slave or slaves, shall think the garment or apparel of his said slave not liable to forfeiture, or to be taken away by virtue of this Act, he may not apply to any neighboring justice of the peace, who is hereby authorized and empowered to determine any difference or dispute that shall happen thereupon, according to the true intent and meaning of this Act.

41.    And whereas, an ill custom has prevailed in this Province, of firing guns in the night time; for the prevention thereof for the future,

    Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any person shall fire or shoot off any gun or pistol in the night time, after dark and before day-light, without necessity, every such person shall forfeit the sum of forty shillings, current money, for each gun so fired as aforesaid, to be recovered by warrant from any one justice of the peace for the county where the offence is committed, according to the direction of the Act for the trial of small and mean causes, and shall be paid to the church-wardens for the parish where the offence shall be committed, for the use of the poor of the said parish.

42.    And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that no slave or slaves shall be permitted to rent or hire any house, room, store or plantation, on his or her own account, or to be used or occupied by any slave or slaves; and any person or persons who shall let or hire and house, room, store or plantation, to any slave or slaves, or to any free person, to be occupied by any slave or slave, every such person so offending shall forfeit and pay to the informer the sum of twenty pounds, current money, to be recovered as in the Act for the trial of small and mean causes.

43.    And whereas, it may be attended with ill consequences to permit a great number of slaves to travel together in the high roads without some white person in company with them;

    Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, that no men slaves exceeding seven in number, shall hereafter be permitted to travel together in any high road in this Province, without some white person with them; and it shall and may be lawful for any person or persons, who shall see any men slaves exceeding seven in number, without some white person with them as aforesaid, traveling or assembled together in any high road, to apprehend all and every such slaves, and shall and may whip them, not exceeding twenty lashes on the bare back.

continued barrister graphic